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Clippers’ Austin Rivers battles injury as playoffs near

Austin Rivers limped into Staples Center on Saturday afternoon, his strained left hamstring leaving the Clippers’ reserve guard disappointed because of the timing and severity of the injury.

The Clippers haven’t given a timetable for his return from the injury, which occurred during Wednesday’s game against Washington, but Coach Doc Rivers gave the impression that he’ll be out at least until sometime in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

The NBA playoffs are scheduled to start April 15.

“I’m disappointed,” Austin Rivers said. “I was looking forward to this year’s playoffs. The goal was game one of the playoffs, but it’s looking like hopefully midfirst round, early second round. We’ll see. You never know, I might heal faster than I think so.

“In my mind, my goal is to be back by the first round, for game one or game two, which is ideal. So, we’ll see.”

The Clippers played 18 games over 30 days in March. They played six sets of back-to-back games.

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Even with all that, Rivers wasn’t sure if the heavy workload caused his injury.

“I don’t know if that was due to me pulling my hamstring. I don’t know. It’s a sucky thing,” Rivers said. “It’s not that serious, serious of an injury. It’s just bad timing. Two weeks out with an injury is not crazy. It’s just the timing of it; man, the timing of me getting it. It’s just (messy) timing. I’m getting it a week and a half before the playoffs with a three- or four-week injury. It’s just not good timing.”

“They’re saying three to four weeks with two weeks left to go before the playoffs. The first round is how long? How long does that last? The playoffs are usually a week and a half. So, that’s my point. That’s like midfirst round, game one of the second round. I’m just trying to figure that out.”

Rivers reaches coaching milestone

Rivers earned his 800th career victory as a coach with a win over the Lakers on Saturday afternoon.

Rivers became the 15th coach in NBA history to reach that mark.

He has an 800-584 record during his 18 years as a coach with the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and how in his fourth season with the Clippers.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner


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